Getting Started: A customer feedback survey template

Getting Started: A customer feedback survey template

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Adam Ramshaw
Adam Ramshaw has been helping companies to improve their Net Promoter® and Customer Feedback systems for more than 15 years. He is on a mission to stamp out ineffective processes and bad surveys.
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Staring at a blank sheet of paper trying to write a customer survey is never fun.   However, if you break the survey down into logical sections the process is not nearly so difficult.  So here is a customer feedback survey template to make the task a little easier.

Every survey has five key sections, each of which is important in its own right.

1. Introduction

The introduction is key because it sets the tone for the rest of the survey, plus it gives the person taking the survey a good understanding of what the survey is about.

Remember that you are asking the respondent to take valuable time out of their day to help you.  So write an introduction for the survey that will help to generate co-operation from participants.  Make sure that you acknowledge the time that it will take and let them know that you appreciate it.

It is also a good idea to provide them with some idea of how taking the survey will help them, e.g.

We are undertaking this survey to gain insight into how we can support our [members, customers, etc] further in this [objective].

Other areas to include in your introduction are:

  • How long you expect the survey to take: resist the urge to underestimate on this point because it can hurt trust in your brand if it takes substantially longer than you say it will.  You will also see abandonment rate go up as people realise that it is taking longer than they expect and they quit in the middle.
  • Contact details: If using an internet survey, provide a contact name, number and email address in your organisation so that people can contact you if required.

2. Attributes

No customer feedback survey template would be complete without asking about Attributes.  This is where you ask the respondent about different areas of your business.  It is what most people think of when they think about a customer feedback survey.

First and foremost make sure that you ask about the areas that you believe will be important to customer.  Sounds obvious I know but finding those areas is not always easy.  This recent blog post “Determining what might be important to a customer” should give you some good ideas on how to go about it.

When asking about attributes is it quite easy to overload the survey.  Everyone in the company wants to know something different and it’s easy to just keep adding a questions: “just one more question will be fine”.  This is a slippery slope and you can end up with far too many questions which drives down response rates and drives up abandon rates.

Try to manage the needs of your internal stakeholders on this point.  At the end of the day you really don’t want more than about 20 questions for a typical customer survey.

3. Outcome questions

These are critical questions because the will allow you to assess how well, overall, you are performing in the opinion of your customers.

You can track outcome questions over time to understand how your overall performance is view by customers. Also if you perform data analysis on the linkage between Outcome questions and Attribute questions it can tell you what is most important to your customers.

The two most common Outcome questions are:

Now, please think about all of your experiences with [Company x].  Please rate your overall satisfaction, where 5 is very satisfied and 1 is very dissatisfied?

On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely would you be to recommend the [company x] to other researchers, where 10 is very likely and 0 is very unlikely?

The second question is used to derive the Net Promoter Score®.  Net Promoter Score is closely correlated to company growth and is being used by an increasing number of companies to drive their business.   You can download our free Introduction to Net Promoter Score for more information

4. Closing questions

You should always include some closing questions in your survey.  The role of these questions is to provide a place for your customer to provide feedback on anything that you have not asked about.

To do that you need to make the questions open ended and you must be prepared to analyse this information closely.

For example:

“From your perspective, what might be done to make [company X] [better/faster/more effective] for you?

5. Thank you

The final thing you should do is thank the customer for investing their time in your survey.  Never just close the survey on a blank page.

If you can, at this point it is always good to let the customer know how their information will be used or what they can expect to see over the coming time period.

So there you have it: a customer survey feedback template that you can use when you want to create a new survey.

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